Monday, October 11, 2010
Many of us have been lucky enough to know one (or maybe more) of "those" people. A person who will seriously do anything for anyone. They will be there to listen, to make you laugh, in this case to fight a fire with you, to answer the phone when you call 911..... I hope that my children will come to make good friends like this.
This was my first big fire "riding the line" (in charge of the hose nozzle, actually responsible for putting the fire out). Dome is the one breaking in the door.
This week we lost a dear friend, and Montgomery County Fire Rescue lost a great man. We are all left wondering what we could have done, but all we can do now is remember. I met Dome when I was in Jr. High and he was in high school. We ran track together, and my most fond memory was him daring me to hurdle a metal gate. I tried and the gate won. The aftermath was ugly, and 20 years later he still teased me. When we met again in the fire department a few years later, he was always looking out for me. He and Tommy became fast friends, and teased each other mercilessly. In the fire department, he was known as Poon (after way too many people mispronouncing Poonjumnern). There aren't really words to explain him, but the words I keep repeating this week are kind, selfless, and totally freaking hilarious.
The scope of his friendships is evidenced by his Facebook page. He was an avid photographer and the pictures show you his view of the world. His very tragic, very unexpected death became known to many people through Facebook. Working in healthcare, I've always been aware of the sensitive nature of revealing bad news. In this age of social networking, many people found out via email, text, or Facebook. It is good in the sense that people who might not otherwise have known were aware in the initial days and could attend the funeral, but it is a crummy way to learn such news. There is some solace in reading all of the posts from his friends, knowing how much we all miss him, and reading some of the very funny stories that are actually fit to print.
The fire department gave Poon a wonderful send-off this weekend. I am thankful to have so many wonderful friends who share fond memories of him. I still struggle with getting back to normal. I can't bring myself to post a "normal" Facebook status update yet, out of respect for him, or to tweet about all the silly things my kids did this weekend. Poon touched our lives in so many ways, and his passing has left a gaping hole.
A co-worker made an amazing tribute video.
William Penn wrote this, but Dome "Poon" lived it. "I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again."
I hope we can all learn a lesson from him.